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View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/wealth-manager/article/a695205

HSBC Private Bank shuts UK immigration service on low client retention

by Elsa Buchanan on Aug 02, 2013 at 12:04

HSBC Private Bank shuts UK immigration service on low client retention

HSBC Private Bank has closed its UK Investor Visa service to new business after clients failed to retain their portfolios at the bank beyond the required minimum five-year term.

The desk provided visa fast-tracking and advice services for overseas investors with more than £1 million under their possession in the UK, or those intending to invest over £750,000 in the UK through gilts, share capital or loans in active and trading UK-listed companies.

The desk, which was created for the UK market and formed part of HSBC’s discretionary wealth management business in London, was launched to attract high net worth individuals and their families to emigrate to the UK by making a substantial investment in the country under a state-backed scheme.

A spokesperson for HSBC confirmed the desk was maintaining the service for its existing 250 clients, but was closed to new business after a review by the bank concluded that after the minimum five-year term the vast majority of clients did not continue using the service.

‘HSBC is refocusing its business around developing sustainable, long-term relationships with its clients, and as very few retained an investment portfolio with HSBC beyond the five-year minimum investment required by the UK government, it was clear that the UK visa service was not supporting this goal,’ the spokesperson said.

The UK service was part of a global desk, which is headquartered in Canada and offers services there as well as in Hong Kong and Singapore.

It has been authorised in the UK since 2004 to provide services to foreign individuals able to meet the requirements.

HSBC confirmed the Canadian operation is still running. Back in July the bank lost David Ellis to RBC Wealth Management. He was managing director and head of the private bank’s investment group for the UK and Channel Islands.

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